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Smiling all the way

Kavi Priya, Founder of Adding Smiles. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: GRJGM

What if one day, out of the blue, you decide that you want to make manufacturing smiles your business? What if you actually make a living by manufacturing smiles, and earn profits out of it? In an era where building business empires and making profits that hit the skyline are in fashion, Kavi Priya, a former graduate of visual communication from Loyola College has stepped off the beaten track by doing exactly this.

Adding Smiles, an NGO founded by Kavi Priya less than a year ago is entrenched in a childhood experience that dates back to her high school days. “My company has been known to the outside world for a very short while. However, the journey began when I was in school,” she says as she smiles reminiscently.

The beginning

“As part of school curriculum, I had to attend a Scouts and Guides camp in a remote village where we incidentally celebrated a friend's birthday by cutting cake. One small girl in the village caught my attention. On talking to her, I realised that celebrating a birthday was alien to her, and explained the concept to her. Soon after, she asked me if I could take her on a bike ride to explore the hills of Ooty. The joy on the child's face when her wish was fulfilled was a sight to behold. And that was when ‘Adding Smiles’ was born,” recalls Kavi Priya.

“Another kid, Santosh, wanted to be a dancer, and his enthusiasm was infectious. Being a dancer, I could relate to the fervour he felt. We celebrated his birthday by setting up a stage for him and providing a platform for him to dance. It turned out to be a memorable birthday for him,” she adds.

Explaining the underlying aim of the organisation, Kavi Priya elucidates how Adding Smiles celebrates the birthdays of the destitute and downtrodden by granting their little wishes. “We have celebrated more than 960 such birthdays and have been spreading and celebrating smiles since then,” she says.

Expansion

Adding Smiles, which started out as an NGO, has now branched out. Also a part of the organisation is the Adding Smiles Consulting which deals with brand management and corporate communication, and the Adding Smiles Art Gallery. Kavi Priya explains on how the focus of Adding Smiles is to create a happy workplace. “Happiness isn’t unreachable,” she says earnestly. “At Adding Smiles, we aim to create an exceptional workplace by delivering happiness. A business model that improves communication and retains employees is one that ensures a happy milieu.”

Kavi Priya further elaborates on what the Adding Smiles Consulting deals with. “We are into branding and communication, especially for corporate. We charge very nominal rates-we do not charge organisational rates. For instance, if you employ four people for the job, then you pay the salary of only four people which is very reasonable,” she explains.

Progress

For an organisation that has been in the market for just a year, Adding Smiles has grown in leaps and bounds. “Our turnover for last year was around 78 lakhs,” says Kavi Priya, and the pride in her voice is evident. “We plan to use 70 per cent of the earnings on our art gallery. I have always felt that artists and painters in our country are exceptionally talented, but do not get any recognition. At Adding Smiles, we have been training artists internationally. We are looking to create galleries where paintings of such artists can be displayed. These paintings will also be promoted internationally in London and other places,” she adds.

Apart from overseeing the progress of Adding Smiles, Kavi Priya is also a budding author. She is all set to publish her book which brings out the softer side of global icons like NR Narayanamurthy, Naseeruddin Shah, Muthiah Muralidharan, Shashi Tharoor, Ratan Tata, Mohan Lal, Azim Premji, Deepak Chopra, and more. The book will be published in September this year.

“I owe a lot to Mr. Bala V Balachandran, my mentor, who stood by me through thick-and- thin. I have never seen a human being more young at heart than Bala sir. He is like a father-figure to me,” says Kavi Priya.

For more details, visit www.addingsmiles.com.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 7:57:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/smiling-all-the-way/article6230864.ece

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